Monday, August 27, 2007

The Bubbly Bachelorette

I've always loved's listing of the best and most expensive champagnes each year, but now I have a whole new appreciation for web site. Apparently the clever editors at have decided that a woman who loves bubbly and knows her way around a restaurant menu is pretty date-able. Still, imagine my surprise at being named San Diego's most Eligible Bachelorette!

San Diego was ranked as the nation's seventh best city for singles in's annual State of the Singletons report (my title, not theirs.)

It's pretty flattering, but then again once I learned it was online, I've panicked every time my office phone rings and there's an unfamiliar male voice on the other end.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Good Karma

I was more than a little curious when I heard that a guy from San Diego had launched his own brand of sparkling wine. Patrick Wilson says he wanted to create a sparkling wine people could enjoy every day. I'm guessing he called it Karma since people associate it with the word "good."

Karma comes in a 187ml single serving bottles. It debuts at Elle Magazine's Style 360 Lounge during New York Fashion Week and goes on sale in nationally this month. But being the Bubbly Girl, I was able to get a preview.

Karma has a distinctive peach and melon aroma and flavor, which is what I expected since it's made from chenin blanc grapes from California's Central Coast. I like the taste, but for my palate, it's too fizzy -- a hallmark of a carbonated wine.

Since it's so bubbly on its own, I thought Karma would be perfect mixer in a sparkling cocktail. Here's my first effort:

Golden Karma
Makes 1 cocktail

2 ounces Canadian Club Whiskey
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
juice of 1/4 lemon
2 to 3 ounces Karma sparkling wine

Add whiskey, marmalade and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a martini glass. Top off with sparkling wine.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

What Champagne Do Master Sommeliers Drink?

I have a new little piece of jewelry: a red and silver pin from the Court of Master Sommeliers. I picked it up recently after 55 other wine lovers and I passed the introductory exam given at Tavern on the Green in New York City.

Fred Dexheimer, Brian Koziol, Laura Williamson and "dean" Wayne Belding - Master Sommeliers who know a frightful amount about wine - spent two days giving a whirlwind lecture on every major wine region in the world. We tasted 22 wines, evaluating them aloud on sight, aroma and taste in order to conclude what kind of wine it was, where it was made and when.

Ultimately, the test was easy, but at the same time, it wasn't in that it got rather detailed on points like villages in the Cru Beaujolais. At 4 p.m. we gathered in suspense, waiting for our names to be called, and knowing that not everyone passed.

Anticipating a celebration, the MSs served Joel Falmet, a grower champagne that I'd never tasted before. It's a well-regarded champagne made in limited quantities that wind up at restaurants or shops in NYC, such as Harlem Vintage., where the brut sells for $29.99. I'm including a picture of the label, courtesy of Pamala Baur, in case you ever spot it on a wine list.

Fortunately, my name was one of the first called! Did I ever savor the crisp, green apple taste of that champagne!

Then classmates Jason, Jennie, Kerianne, Gilat (high scorer on our test) and I strolled down Central Park West to Jean-Georges, where we celebrated, decompressed and laughed over a bottle of Duval-Leroy Rose.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Questions: Sulfites and Booze in Bubbly

A curious Bubbly Girl named Thelma wrote to me wondering about the amount of alcohol in a bottle of champagne and sulfites in wine. Since I had to do a bit of research, I figured I'd share it with the rest of you.

First, it's probably safe to remember that all 750 ml or 25 or so ounces in a bottle of bubbly contain alcohol. But it's true that 4 ounces of champagne aren't nearly as potent as 4 ounces of Cognac.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, one 5-ounce glass of wine has the same amount of alcohol as 1.5 ounces of vodka or 12 ounces of beer. Doing the math, one bottle of champagne has the equivalent alcohol as drinking 7.5 ounces of hard liquor.

But when drinking bubbly you can't forget about the carbonation. Not only do those tiny bubbles tickle your nose; they also speed the alcohol into your system, giving it a more potent effect than the equivalent amount of still wine or vodka.

Moving on... sulfites are these naturally occurring substances, often found in small amounts in wine and beer as a natural byproduct of fermentation. They're also added to many foods like shrimp, frozen potatoes, dried fruit and wine, because they're a great preservative. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that added sulfites make 1 in 100 people itchy, short of breath or worse.

If added sulfites in wine are a concern, you may want to look into wines made with organic or biodynamic processes, and often minimal amounts of added sulfites. I'm not sure its possible to make sparklers sans sulfites, but a couple responsible producers include Albet i Noya in Spain, which makes an organic cava called Cava Can Vendrell and Fleury, the first champagne maker to go biodynamic in 1989.